Sermons from July 2022
Ephesians 4:1-6 In the fractured and polarized world of the last three years, one would think that the church ought to be a stabilizing and unifying force for society. However, we’ve seen that the church itself was just as divided and polarized as the rest of society, if not more so. We know that disunity is not God’s plan for His family; He desires His children to live in harmony in the bond of love. One of the strongest exhortations for unity in the church comes from Ephesians chapter 4, a familiar passage from which PBCC derives several of our core family values. In a short 2-sermon series, we’ll retrace the lessons Apostle Paul taught to the believers in Ephesus and learn how God intends for the church to live in unity and to function as a living body.
James 5:13-20 The longing to be known and loved is universal, going back to the banishment of our first parents from Eden. But surely we live in an especially lonely time. Social media offers us innumerable opportunities for connection which have mostly resulted in deformed ‘communities’, and ‘friendships’ without content. The church, God’s plan for human belonging, is seen by many (too often with good reason) as unwelcoming and self-important. We turn to scripture for a better word. The final verses of James contain practical instruction on healthy church life – describing believers who pray with and for one another, are honest about sin and suffering, and sing praises from the heart.
Jeremiah is not a book we usually turn to for our Bible reading even though one of the verses we quote and hear quoted often is Jer. 29.11. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” However, not only is Jeremiah filled with beautiful verse and amazing metaphors, but there is also much that we can learn from Jeremiah’s painful life and his hard message to the people of Judah. We will explore these two themes on Sunday.
Col 2:16-23 “No one,” said Jesus, “puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins — and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.” You don’t have to be a winemaker to appreciate the wisdom of Christ’s reminder: Just as new wine can burst old wineskins, so the Way of Christ was never meant to be bound by tradition. Yet, there is a place for the old as much as there is for the new — both belong to Christ! Come join us this Sunday as we explore the right — and wrong — ways we often use tradition as travelers on the ever-new, ever-reforming, ever-reconstructing Way of Christ.
Col 2:6-8, 13-15 It is often suggested that in order to win in the various arenas of life — whether martial, social, or political — we must be willing to play by the same rules as our competitors, to stoop down to their level, to get into the mud with them. Christ achieved total victory over His enemies in a wholly different way — and only by His upside-down victory will the world be turned right-side-up. Come join us on Sunday as we look into Christ’s cross-shaped path to victory and rediscover our own triumph.